Friday of the Unexamined Life

Someone must have summoned the geese to a point south of here with a sudden and extraordinary summons. At 8:45 they were flying over Oreland in noisy and multiple flocks, as if they all had to be in the same place by 9AM. Perhaps it has to do with the snow that sifted down overnight.

I went over to Oreland Pizza later on, passing up Rosario’s on the way, climbing over the tracks, back behind our negligible post-office, across the sleepy main drag of Oreland. The best thing about Philadelphia is all the neighborhood steak shops, the little places that supply pizza and sandwiches. Rosario’s has an old plastic sign with a phone number and no area code, and it has three faded plastic Marx brothers in the window. At Oreland the TV is always showing soccer and sounding in Spanish.

Philadelphia has towns and townships. Oreland lies on two townships: Upper Dublin and Springfield. Upper Dublin is the wealthier and more expensive. As you go from Upper Dublin into Springfield you notice the trash cans are smaller. Oreland lies mostly in Springfield township.

The green-eyed not-Puertorican girl at the counter talked me into the upgrade from just a cheeseburger to the lunch combo. She explained that it was fries and a soda, equaling a lunch combo. So the price is a combo, she further elaborated. It was not worth it, but it made me think of the soda tax going down in Philadelphia. Have you heard of the Philly soda tax? It’s a tax on sugar in drinks of 1.5 cents an oz. Not fake news, but any positive effect probably is.

And  yet I think it will stay the course, though people are worked up right now. The reason I think it will stick around is that locally roasted coffee is expensive here–more than in NYC–and I think it is because people just accept it. People are mad about the soda tax now, but they won’t be. It is a laid back place.

I worked on the 19th chapter of the 2nd LBC today: on God’s law. I think if you want to find out who is reformed and who is reformedish, ask them about God’s law. A reformed view of the law has consequences apparent in the observance of the 4th commandment. And it will usually irritate the reformedish if you call them out.

And I am listening to this excellent podcast on Heraclitus. Evan Braun writes long articles in the Imaginative Conservative that I find myself unable even to begin nowadays. But she knows what she’s talking about, and on this podcast says it. Very worth listening to. Ancient philosophy is the only philosophy worth bothering about.

Speaking of which, the used-book scene in Philadelphia is not what I’d like. There are used book stores, but getting to them regularly is not something one finds oneself doing. Not like in Columbus or Minneapolis where it was almost a weekly event. More like Bogota; and in many ways, Philadelphia has the strengths and weaknesses of a third world city. Perhaps that’s why I’m fond of it. But there is a bright spot in the used-book scene: Harvest Books. They buy libraries and then liquidate a certain portion at a rate of $2 a paperback and $3 for a hard. They have their sale once a month, it is small, but it is worth it. I once got a good haul of conservative stuff–Kirk, Chesterton–from the liquidation of a Princeton librarian’s library.

The stack is the five from last Friday, and beside them is a trophy from another time. You find worthwhile stuff, and sometimes more than one or two things.

Brehier, for example, on Plotinus, is a translation from his lectures in French. He did it in 1922 I think: got Plotinus, wrote with clarity, put things elegantly, and is worth getting for more than just $3.

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